Effects of Oil Properties and Slick Thickness on Dispersant Field Effectiveness and Oil Fate
Dispersion, Dispersant, Spill modelling, Wind speed, Oil type
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
One of the available oil spill response options is to enhance the natural dispersion process by the addition of dispersants known as chemical dispersion. An informed decision for such response requires insight about the added effects of treatment with dispersants on the oil slick fate. To provide such insight, a mathematical model for oil slick elongation as a result of dispersion was developed including the effects of oil viscosity, dispersed oil droplet sizes, and oil layer thickness. This chapter briefly revisits this oil slick elongation model to explain the consequences of different key parameters on dispersion, vertical droplet size distribution, formation of a comet-like tail and oil slick (dis)appearance, as well as the implications of the results for future decision-making. The model outcomes indicate that wind speed is a very dominant factor in dispersion and subsequent slick behavior. More surprising, the influence of oil type on the elongation process is only limited. The increased density of the high-viscosity oil types allows larger droplets to be stably suspended. High-viscosity oil, however, was found to benefit less from a decrease in interfacial tension than a low-viscosity oil. Weighing estimated risks for adverse effects in the water column with a reduced surface oil presence allows for future dispersant decisions based on a thorough Spill Impact Mitigation Analysis (SIMA).
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
Effects of Oil Properties and Slick Thickness on Dispersant Field Effectiveness and Oil Fate, in S. A. Murawski, C. H. Ainsworth, S. Gilbert, D. J. Hollander, C. B. Paris, M. Schlüter & D. L. Wetzel (Eds.), Deep Oil Spills Facts, Fate, and Effects, Springer, p. 155-169
Scholar Commons Citation
Zeinstra-Helfrich, Marieke and Murk, Albertinka, "Effects of Oil Properties and Slick Thickness on Dispersant Field Effectiveness and Oil Fate" (2020). C-IMAGE Publications. 175.